Saturday, February 8
We left puerto Montt and went south on the Caratera Austral (ruta 7) to la arena where we jumped on our first ferry. We ended up spending two nights near Hualaihue, a very small fishing town on the coast. The first night we camped on the shore as the locals recommended. We awoke to rain, enough that we decided to wait for it to lift before we broke camp. It never did. Some ladies from the town tracked us town and told us they were expecting a lightning storm and they invited us to stay inside of what was basically town hall, with bikes inside too. Really kind of them, and we accepted. We left the next morning to head for our next ferry ride thought the fjords, a two part ride that would total around 5 hours. It's brought us by Hornopiren NP and into Pumalin NP. The views were incredible. Took lots of pics and used Mikes binoculars with surprising success as a zoom lens for my iPhone. We camped in Pumalin NP, which is a great story, basically the founder of North Face bought up all the land and donated it to Chile as a free NP. I have never seen so many waterfalls. Moss and ferns and greenery everywhere. A real rainforest with constant cloud cover and mist keeping everything green and the water flowing. Took and amazing hike to a cascading waterfall that has been a highlight of the trip in my opinion.
We have been in the hard luck town of Chaiten for the past two days drying out our gear and bikes at a hostel. This town was destroyed by a sudden volcano eruption in May 2008. The eruption process is technically still happening as we can see the volcano right outside town still billowing out greyness into the sky from just about anywhere you walk in town. They restored power and water in 2011 after 3 years of vacancy and people have started to move back. It's really crazy to see the destruction both in town and in the forests around the town.
We've had time to do some repairs on the bikes/equipment here. My ignition hasn't worked in 4 days till now, lots of push starts and hill parking. We all have gear that is leaking and repaired that as well. It looks as if the rain is going to be the price of admission for all the green here in Chile. We plan to depart this morning and stay in or close to a thermal hot spring by this volcano.
Enjoy some pics from the past week and notice the smoking volcano in the background of the town pics!
Sunday, February 2
Mike made us some tea before we needed to scramble to the tents to get away from this rain.